Types of Sentences in Writing to Know

what are 4 types of sentences

Sentences always have a certain grammatical form and intonation. They can be classified according to the structure and purpose of the utterance. In today’s article, we will consider the principle of sentence divisions by structure. Let’s use an example to show how different sentence types are composed.



types of sentences

Based On The Purpose Types Of Sentences With Examples

What are four types of sentences based on purpose? Subtypes of sentences in terms of the purpose of the statement are easy to distinguish even by the way they are written, since the difference is emphasized by punctuation. At the end of the sentence, you can see a period (full stop). Exclamation and question sentences are marked with an exclamation mark and a question mark, respectively. The imperative type can be followed by either an exclamation point or a period, depending on how energetic the “imperativeness” is.

What is a declarative sentence?

When talking about sentence definition, we can say that declarative sentences express an opinion, communicate information, and allow a declarative statement to be made. Declarative sentences are characterized by a calm intonation, an average pronunciation rate, a normal pitch at the beginning of the message, a slight rise in tone in the middle, and a decrease towards the end of the sentence.


  • The endless road runs away like a ribbon.
  • May beetles swirled over the birches.
  • A frog croaked near the shore.

Attention! All past, present, and future tenses of the English language are used with declarative sentences.


  • The white birch under my window was covered with snow like silver.
  • In one swamp, under a wild willow, ducklings hatched.
  • Winter came and the whole earth was covered with white snow.

Declarative sentences, in turn, are divided into:

  • Positive sentences.
  • Negative sentences.

Positive sentences

In positive sentences, there are no negative turns and particles – for example, the words “not,” “none,” “nobody,” etc.

Positive declarative sentence example: The cloudy hot sun looks into the greenish sea, as if through a thin gray veil.

Negation can be formed by putting the auxiliary verb in the negative form: “isn’t,” “doesn’t.”

Negative sentences

Negative sentences are meant to express the absence or fallacy of something.

Example: The man isn’t going to the station.

It has particles, auxiliary verbs, and other words in the negative form. A positive sentence can be easily changed into a negative one by changing the meaning and adding a negation.

Example: “In summer, the road is unusually diverse and picturesque.” “In winter, the road is not picturesque at all.”

What is an interrogative sentence?

When talking about this type of sentenced in English, we can say that this is a special type for asking questions. A question is easy to recognize by the presence of a question mark if the sentence is written down, and intonation if it is pronounced.

Interrogative examples:

  • Are you going to work today?
  • How could you do this?
  • Why does Mary have more apples than I do?

Subtypes of interrogative sentences

In turn, the questions are divided into:

  1. General questions (Yes/No questions).
  2. Alternative questions.
  3. Special questions (Wh-questions).
  4. Tag-questions (Disjunctive questions).

General questions or Yes/No questions

These are questions that can be answered “yes” or “no.”


  • May I enter?
  • Will you take care of the kitten while I’m gone?

Such questions are formed by rearranging the auxiliary verb. This usually happens in one of two ways:

  1. Auxiliary verb (be, do, have) + subject + main verb.
  2. Modal verb + subject + main verb.


  • Did you see how beautiful the sunset was today?
  • Can I tell you more about our itinerary?
  • Did you notice that when John entered the classroom, Mary, who is sitting in the first desk, had reddened cheeks?

If the auxiliary verb forms a verb group together with the main verb and consists of two words, then only the first part changes places with the subject.

Interrogative sentence example with a general question: Have you ever been to New York? (The word “been” remained in place.)

Alternative questions

Alternative questions allow the interlocutor to choose between two or more answers. In English grammar books, they are even sometimes called “choice questions.”


  • Would you prefer this or that skirt?
  • Will she vote “yes” or “no”?

There are two main types of questions like this:

  1. Auxiliary verb (be, do or have) + subject + main verb + alternative one or alternative two.
  2. Modal verb + subject + main verb + alternative one or alternative two.

But this is just a general outline. An alternative with “or” can be offered to subordinate not only parts of a sentence but also the grammatical basis of the sentence.


  • Will she or her brother drink from that cup?
  • Did they swim or snorkel last Tuesday?

Apart from the “or” construction, the formation of an alternative question does not differ from the formation of a general question. The subject and auxiliary verb are reversed at the beginning.

Attention! If the role of the auxiliary verb is played by the verb “to be,” then you do not need to add additional auxiliary verbs to the question.

Example: “Is she 31 years old?” NOT “Does is she 31 years old?” “Was she did 31 years old?”

Special or Wh-questions

The questions got their name due to the fact that it is with Wh- that special question words begin: “Why,” “What,” “When,” with the help of which we receive detailed information from the interlocutor, and not just “yes/no.” Of course, this group also includes questions that begin with question words that do not begin with Wh-: “How?” In addition, in some grammar books, Wh-questions are often called “special questions.”


  • When can we go to the cinema with our grandmother?
  • Why did you ruin that shirt?

These questions are formed in this way:

Interrogative word + auxiliary verb + subject + main verb, subordinate parts of the sentence.

Disjunctive or tag-questions

This is an auxiliary verb that has changed places with the subject. This construction is added to the usual affirmative sentence at the end and a clarifying question is obtained.


  • She works for a big international company, doesn’t she?
  • They are from France, aren’t they?

How is it formed? Regular affirmative sentence + comma + auxiliary verb + pronoun referring to the subject of the first part of the question. If the subject itself is expressed by the pronoun, then it remains only to repeat it, but this is not always the case. “Jack gave her a book, didn’t he?” “He” is Jack, so we put “he” in the interrogative part of the question. “Mary likes swimming, doesn’t she?” As you have noticed, the auxiliary verb is constantly put in the negative form. The rule is that if there is no negation in the first part of the sentence before the comma, then the interrogative part must be negative, and if the first part itself is negative, then the “tag” is positive. “She hasn’t done her homework, has she?”

What is an exclamatory sentence?

Exclamatory sentences are distinguished by an exclamatory intonation in voice and punctuation in writing.

Exclamatory sentence examples:

  • What a delight this task is!
  • What amazing summer evenings!
  • How beautiful this song is!

The word order, as can be seen from the examples, does not change as in questions (direct, not reverse).

What is an imperative sentence?

With the help of an imperative sentence, orders are given, demands are made, and instructions are given. With their help, you tell people what to do. Usually, the subject in such sentences is absent but implied, and the sentence starts with a verb.

Imperative sentence examples:

  • Stop doing that!
  • Take this book.
  • Find a new friend.

The implied subject in such sentences is usually “you.” The verb in the imperative mood does not change; it is used in the first main form without the particle “to,” and in negative sentences “Don’t” is added to this form.


Already tired of the amount of infomation about types of sentences?

4 Types Of Sentences By Structure

The first type is simple sentences. Everything is simple with it. This is a short statement that has only one grammatical basis (subject + predicate). This does not apply to impersonal sentences that do not have a subject.


  • The burger smells good.
  • The tomato is red.

Complex sentences can contain several simple ones. They are divided within themselves into complex sentences and compound sentences.


  • The yacht disappeared at the very moment when the boat set off.
  • The native places where I grew up will forever remain in my heart.
  • Such hot weather has come when you just want to swim in the river and eat ice cream.

Complex sentences have several bases, that is, several subject-predicate pairs. Compound sentences differ from complex ones in that their parts are independent and can be divided into separate simple sentences. In complex sentences, the dependent part cannot be explained without the main one. Complex sentences can be formed with the help of conjunctions and prepositions (that, and), as well as without them.

It is worth noting that in English, there is a mixed type of complex-compound sentences, in which at least two simple sentences in a complex sentence are equal in rights, and the rest are dependent.

Conditional sentences or conditionals

Conditional sentences or conditionals are considered one of the most difficult topics in English grammar. This is due to the fact that when compiling them, you need to use the correct sequence of tenses. But don’t worry! We will consider how to write such sentences as well.

We use conditional sentences when we talk about the conditions of some real, unreal, or possible action, or about our desires:


  • If spring were warm, it would be possible to swim in Lake Michigan very soon.
  • If it rains again today, I’d rather stay at home.
  • If you heat water to 212°F, it boils.

The meaning of the sentence can completely change if we mix up the tense a little. So let’s get into the details!

There are five types of conditional sentences in English:

  1. Zero conditional
  2. First conditional
  3. Second conditional
  4. Third conditional
  5. Mixed conditional

Punctuation and structure of conditional sentences

Compound conditional sentences consist of two sentences – the main clause, which refers to the action, and the subordinate clause, which refers to the condition of the action. Any of the parts of the sentence can be in the sentence both in the first place and in the second.


  • If I meet her, I will tell her about our meeting.
  • I will tell her about our meeting if I meet her.

Be careful with commas! You need to remember that:

  • A comma is placed when a conditional sentence begins with a subordinate clause.
  • A comma is not used when the sentence begins with a main clause.

Zero conditional

Zero conditional sentences are among the simplest. In this type of sentence, we most often talk about something that happens all the time or is known to everyone: the laws of physics, nature, facts, axioms, and also giving recommendations or advice. Unlike all other types of conditional sentences, there are no assumptions in zero – they state facts.

First conditional

Here, we talk in the main clause about the event that will happen if the condition from the subordinate clause is met. Conditional sentences of the first type refer to the future tense.

Second conditional

In conditional sentences of the second type, we talk about unrealistic events in the present or about events in the future with a very low probability.

Third conditional

In conditional sentences of the third type, we talk about an event that could have happened but did not happen in the past.

Mixed conditional

The last type, mixed conditional, uses a combination of parts of two different types of conditional sentences – the second and third.

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